Category Archives: Daily Life

6 Best Mental Health Gifts

Now that the busyness of the holidays are over, you are probably done shopping, wrapping and returning gifts. Why not start the new year with a mental health gift for yourself?

I believe managing anxiety and maintaining relationship connections are important parts of mental health. So I’m going to share 6 of my favorite gifts for promoting relaxation, health, and human connection:

Gift #1Young Living Essential Oils; Pure oils from a botanical that can be either diffused, inhaled, applied topically, or taken internally to promote health and balance. Among some of my favorites are: Lavendar (promote relaxation), Lemon (cleansing), DiGize (support digestion), Peppermint (energizing),  Joy (uplifting mood), and Stress Away. (Click here if you want to receive 24% discount off oils without having to sell anything. Or shop at full retail prices here too.)

Gift #2: Massage Gift Card: Schedule a massage for yourself or give the gift via gift card to promote deep physical and mental relaxation. Look for licensed massage therapist in your area. Or if you live in Kansas City area, I recommend A Healthy Alternative Therapeutic Massage.

Gift #3: Sounder Sleep System: Breathing and mini movement exercises to help promote more restful sleep for those insomniacs. It’s more than meditation, as it helps you synchronize your breath with easy mini moves you can do both in bed and throughout the day to have a more restful sleep.

Gift #4: Restorative Yoga Video: Enjoy simple yoga exercises for beginners looking to relax or rejuvenate. Lead by professional yoga instructor in privacy of your own home. Especially beneficial if recovering from illness or injury.

Gift #5: Friendships Don’t Just Happen Book: A useful guide for creating meaningful circle of friends. As adults with busy schedules, it can be hard to meet and create friendships. But social and family connections are vital to our well-being. Author Shasta Nelson guides you through discovering how all levels of friendships are important. Friendships are always changing, because so are you

Gift #6: Emotional Intimacy Journal for Self Discovery: I created this journal with 15 questions that will help you increase your self-awareness in regards to better understanding and developing emotional intimacy with your partner. Instead of continuing to do what doesn’t work, find new ways to connect without pushing your partner further away. This journal is free when you subscribe to Liberating Choices (or it’s available for sale in my office for $10).

Please share your favorite gift to give yourself to promote emotional or relational health. I know many gifts won’t cost you a thing!

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Schedule a mental health check up today either face to face or online with Marci. 

Questions to Bring You Out of Burnout

drop-energy-person

“Burnout comes from trying to give what I do not possess.” ~ Parker Palmer

Do you move through your day, running on empty, until you crash? There isn’t a drop of energy left at the end of your day, not for you or your loved ones.

As a parent, I find it’s natural to give of ourselves. We want the best for our kids, so we give, get, and do for them without even thinking about it. And if we aren’t careful, we take on their problems as our own or give of ourselves until we are completely drained.

Of course, giving more of yourself than you give to yourself doesn’t just happen in parenting, it can also be true for the workplace, in your marriage, and with your extended family.  If you are taking on others problems, you probably feel overwhelmed, because you feel responsible without any authority to change the problem.

I think this leads to getting burned out on your life. Meaning if you are giving more of yourself than you reserve for yourself, you will probably end up irritable, tired, and simple things will stress you out.

Stress in the Context of Family Relationships

It’s so important to not just think about reserving time for yourself, but also to think about the challenges you are up against in your family. How do others get you to do more for them? Do they convince you that they can’t do it without you, or is a reality need that they can’t do it for themselves? Or maybe you think no one will do it as well as you will. There are so many possible ideas and behaviors that would fuel taking on more than is our responsibility.

 

Of course eating well, exercising, and meeting your social needs will help you deal with stress. But if you don’t figure out how you get depleted in the first place, you will keep having to relearn this lesson again and again. Good self care can be drained once you go home and start overdoing it again.

People, biochemicals, and hormones aren’t the only thing that can get out of balance, so can relationships. What goes on inside a person impacts what goes on between people, and vice versa. Meaning what goes on between people also impacts what goes on inside a person.

This is why it’s not enough to just carve out time for yourself, you also have to think about how you get yourself in a spot where you are revved up and others around you are stalled or idling. If you are doing it all, no one else has to think for themselves, nor experience consequences.

Questions to Spark Your Burnout Awareness

The first step in any change is to increase your awareness. So stop, slow down, and ask yourself these questions:

  1. How much do I want to be in service to others, and how much energy do I want to reserve for myself?
  2. How do others get me to do more for them (even when they can do it for his/herself)?
  3. What would it take for me to begin shifting this pattern (doing less even when others don’t do more)?

Realizing you have more choices than you originally thought can be just the jump start you need to move from burnt out to thriving.

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Relationships and emotions are complex. Schedule a consult today to discuss what you are learning about yourself and how your relationships impact your health.

Photo Credit: “Universe in a Drop” by Hartwig Koppdelaney

Top 5 Focusing Tips in a Distracted World

Do you want to be less distracted by mental clutter? I think mental clutter comes in two forms: the worries we give ourselves and the information overload we receive from outside of ourselves.

In today’s age of instant gratification and touch screens, it can be hard to unplug and unwind. It starts with a beep, a ring, a tweet, or a status. And it spirals from minutes to hours mindlessly lost in a web of technology.

While I am often bombarded with technology pings and pulls for my attention, I find I need just as many reminders to be mindful of how I use and respond to technology. So I’m pulling out my review of Leo Babauta’s book, Focus: A Simplicity Manifesto in the Age of Distraction. Focus offers a wealth of practical information to help you focus in an age of increasing technology and available information.

“The stream of news, information, and messages we get these days is enough to drown us.” Leo Babauta

Leo’s not drowning, he’s choosing a different path. If you don’t know Leo, he is the humbly, wise and prolific writer of Zen Habits. He writes about simplifying life for a more peaceful, productive, and happier you.

When I get bored, lonely, or worried, I can get really distracted. What about you? Yet, if I add focus to any task, I create a peaceful productivity.

To learn the art of focusing, I’m choosing my 5 most favorite, focusing tips from Leo’s book. And, taking steps that I can apply to my everyday life. Will you join me?

Top 5 Focusing Tips:

#5 – Limit Streams of Information

We sit down to read, but what do we pick up? A book, magazine, blog, newsletter, e-book, or professional journal. There is a mega amount of information literally available at our fingertips.

How do you reduce information overload? Here are some steps I’m taking to limit the constant stream of information that I consume:  less Facebook, TV shows, blogs, and unsubscribing from newsletters.  This is where focusing begins for me.

#4 – Prioritize Less Tasks

I have always prioritized daily tasks, but almost always try to complete more than is realistic in a day. Now, I limit myself to 2-3 important tasks per day. How do you decide what tasks get priority in your day?

I also separate important from routine tasks. I start on the important tasks first, before I start on one of the many mundane tasks, such as errands, chores, filing, copying, etc.

#3 – Take an Information Cleanse

I resist unplugging from the computer, unless I’m on vacation or out of town. Yet, I’m tired of waiting for travel to take me away. What would it take for you to unplug?

Start with a half a day. Move up to a whole day. Unplug from the technology of your choosing, phone, computer, TV. Initially, I was anxious about unplugging, worried about missing out and getting behind. Yet, I’ve found I’m more focused on essentials and the loved ones right in front of me during an info cleanse.

#2 – Practice Single-Tasking 

I’d like to think I’m a master, multi-tasker. Opening emails, talking on the phone, and checking my to do list. What’s wrong with this picture? There’s a million things running through my mind, but I’m not fully present in any of them.

Surprisingly, doing one task at a time is exhilarating and relieving. Practice completing one task at a time, as if you have nothing else to do. And, then practice again and again. Be completely in the moment, no matter how mundane the task.

#1 – Do Something Amazing Each Day 

I saved the best for last. Think about what you love about life. Intentionally, do at least one thing each day that inspires, energizes, or motivates you. You may already be doing something amazing each day.

Is your most important task also something you love to do? If not, carve out time to do something you are passionate about before you go to bed. Again, give your amazing experience all of your focus, for as long as it lasts. Enjoy!

“Be like water. Flow, respond to the landscape, move around obstacles, and be graceful in your movement.” Leo Babauta

Mental clutter is not like water, it’s a pool of nagging thoughts that you haven’t done enough. Break through by simplifying, unplugging, and focusing on the essentials.

I’m going to be working on putting less on my daily to do list, so I can enjoy that amazing moment! What focusing practice will you start practicing?

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2011, but you can still download Leo’s book on Focus for FREE or purchase a premium version, here.